4 Ways to Stay Positively Present (Even When Things Feel Crazy!) + Giveaway!

The following article is from my good friend, Dani, from Positively Present. I've been reading her blog from the start, in 2009. She's a blogger on fire! She's inspiring, authentic, and wise beyond her years. Who doesn't want to learn from somebody like that? 

She is launching her first book today and I've purchased a paperback to give away to a lucky commenter (and a PDF copy for myself)!


As the founder of Positively Present, staying focused on the present moment is something I strive to do as much as possible. Of course, living being the way it is, there are often times when it’s incredibly difficult to stay present—particularly in situations where a great deal is going on a once. For example, staying present in a large crowd, in a chaotic situation, or when under a great deal of stress is very difficult.

Yesterday I found myself in Target feeling as if an army of people was swarming me. All of the children are out of school for the summer and it seemed like everyone decided to head to Target at the exact same moment. Everyone was rushing past me in haste and the air was charged with a hurryhurryhurry energy.

I literally stopped in the middle of an aisle to let others scurry past and I realized this store—this pre-summer chaos—was the last place I wanted to be. This was one of those times when I didn't want to be present, when I wanted to be anywhere other than the moment I was in.

Later, as I thought back on that moment—the shopping carts pushing past one another, the furious pace, and the frustrated sighs of nearby shoppers—in the calm comfort of my own home, I realized I had a choice in that moment. I have a choice in every moment. Rather than practically running out of the store and darting home to the comfort of calm, I could have stayed in that moment—chaotic as it was—and embraced it.

I could have focused not on the negative things happening in that moment, but on the good things that were happening: the person who let someone with fewer items go ahead of her in a long line; the cheery site of summer lawn chairs and brightly colored beach towel; the hunch of shoulders pouring over the Father’s Day card section. There were many things about those moments I spent in Target that were good, but I didn't see them amid my frustration.

And isn't that often how it seems to be during a hectic situation? Aren't there often good moments we fail to recognize because we’re overwhelmed by the craziness of the world around us? We always have the choice to stay focused on the moment—on the good parts of the moment—and enjoy it, no matter how crazy things might seem.

Here are four ways I plan to work on staying present and positive when faced with a less-than-pleasant situation.

1. Focus on the five senses. This is a tactic I use when I'm trying to fall asleep and can't, but it also works when striving to preserve a positive and present attitude in a chaotic situation. Whenever I find myself stressed or wanting to be somewhere that I'm not, I'm going to take a deep breath and focus on my five senses. Thinking about what I can hear, see, taste, touch, and smell will help to bring me back to the moment and remind me of the good things happening all around me.

2. Redirect negative attention. Just like in Target, there are bound to be some moments when my thoughts start to wander into negative territory. However, it's up to me to stop this from happening. As soon as I become aware of a negative thought (and I must stay aware of my thinking!), I'm going to redirect it in a more positive direction. For every negative thing I think, I'll strive to counterattack it with a positive thought.

3. Create good energy. Though others around me may be stressed and frazzled by the hecticness around us, I can choose the type of energy I put out. I can either feed off of the stressed-out energy of others or I can choose to put out good energy of my own. This means staying calm and withholding any (and all!) negative judgments. If I create good, good will come back to me.

4. Start off on the right foot. I have to admit something to you: I didn't go into Target with a positive attitude. I had a feeling it would be too crowded and people would be frantic so I started off my shopping trip on the wrong foot with negative thinking. One of the best ways to focus on the present and stay positive is to not go into any situation (no matter what!) with a negative attitude. Starting off on the right foot will give even the most stressful situation a chance to be a positive experience.

 If I'd tried these four tactics in Target, I'm certain I would have been able to enjoy my time there (or at least make it through without wanting to run from the place!). It's tempting to get caught up in the energy of others—especially when so many people are fueled by the same so-much-to-do vibe. Even though nothing on my list was imperative and I wasn't under any stress at all, I felt unusually stressed just being around stressed people.

Despite the energy I was picking up on from others, I still had a choice to be positive in that moment. Next time I find myself in a similar situation, I’ll remind myself:  Choose to be present. Choose to be positive.

This article was written by Dani, founder of PositivelyPresent.com. Since 2009, Positively Present has focused on helping people live more positive and present lives. For tips and tactics for how to be more present, check out her brand spankin’ new workbook: Live Happily Ever After Now: A Guide + Workbook for Living in the Present Moment.

Please leave a comment below telling us how you remain in the moment in hectic times. You'll have a chance to win Dani's new book!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Karen Beth June 13, 2012, 9:25 am

    I remain in the present moment simply by reminding myself how wonderful it is to be alive.

  • Positively Present June 13, 2012, 11:09 am

    Karen – That’s such a great way to stay focused on the present. Even during tough times, it really is wonderful to be alive!

  • Paige | simple mindfulness June 13, 2012, 11:51 am

    These are wonderful tips Dani! If I’m the one feeling crazy because I have too much to do, I stop and take a few deep breaths to break the frenzied feeling. Then I remind myself that I can only do one thing at a time. I think about my top three values and mentally check which task addresses more of them and I do that thing first. Prioritizing things that way helps me to relax and I know when I’ll get to each one. Without that mental or written list, my head spins.

    When I’m feeling relaxed and I walk into an area of craziness, I take a deep breath and visualize myself in my own calm little bubble. This helps to protect me from the crazy energy from all the other people. From inside my bubble, I can be an objective observer of what’s going on around me. Simply watching others be crazy usually makes me laugh.

    • Tess The Bold Life June 13, 2012, 5:28 pm

      Thanks for your contribution! I love the private calm bubble. I’m sure this is how you run a wonderful blog, work, and mother three children! You rock!

  • cindy June 13, 2012, 11:54 am

    Be here now! Be here now!
    Repeat until you regain focus.

    Love your site, gain so much wisdom and insight. Thanks, you do a great job!

  • Lana June 13, 2012, 12:39 pm

    Breathe. Change focus. Remember to love.

    • Tess The Bold Life June 13, 2012, 5:29 pm

      Your beauty makes the list we have here lovely! Thanks for sharing.

  • Sandra / Always Well Within June 13, 2012, 1:21 pm


    These are excellent suggestions for transforming negativity into positivity even in very challenging circumstances like you encountered at Target. Another approach is to simply be aware without attempting to alter the mind at all. Negative thoughts are transitory and will dissolve on their own if we don’t feed them.

    Congratulations on the release of your new book. I hope it’s a big success!

    • Tess The Bold Life June 13, 2012, 5:30 pm

      I need to practice your approach. I’m not good at that and forget it can be that easy;)

  • Cathy | Treatment Talk June 13, 2012, 1:36 pm

    Hi Dani,

    It is during those moments that are chaotic that we need our sense of calm the most. When I’m in those situations, I try and pull myself out of the midst of chaos for a moment and breathe, and then continue on, but in a slow pace. That seems to help me just focus on what I need and let the rest fall by the wayside. Thanks for sharing your great post!

    • Tess The Bold Life June 13, 2012, 5:31 pm

      Hi Cathy,
      Breathe and slow your pace. Sounds good to me!

  • Elle June 13, 2012, 1:50 pm

    Great tips for experiencing what you want rather than pick up all the surrounding energy. Before I go anywhere, or do anything for that matter, I like to go to the end of the experience and choose what I’ll be feeling. So when I encounter the sort of hectic energy you mentioned, I can shrug it off more easily with the thought, well I already know how it ends up, so it’s all good. πŸ™‚

    • Tess The Bold Life June 13, 2012, 5:33 pm

      I’m going to copy your advice on an index card so I remember to do this. I know this but forgot and haven’t tried it. I’m certain it will save my energy from spiraling downward.

  • Lois Hughes June 13, 2012, 2:18 pm

    Hi Dani – how well I know that feeling of being in a crowded store with stressed folks and wishing I could just go home. You gave some great ideas for tuning into the positive and staying in the present. We don’t need to pick up on the mood of the environment and let us make our present unpleasant. We can use tools to keep ourselves calm and happy, no matter what is going on around us. Thanks for a great post.

  • Tess The Bold Life June 13, 2012, 5:34 pm

    Hi Lois,
    Being centered first reminds me that I don’t need to pick up a mood. I’m dangerous if I’m not centered. LOL

  • David Stevens June 13, 2012, 6:48 pm

    Hi Ladies,
    Use your own energy & focus, not others’…..it’s Your moment not theirs. Thankyou
    be good to yourself

  • Vanessa June 14, 2012, 3:48 am

    I use post- it notes in places to help me remember to stay in the present moment and stop worrying.

  • Kim June 14, 2012, 7:13 am

    I just found your blog today and I couldn’t be more thrilled. (Definitely subscribing!) I love the tips here! I’ve been using some of them in many areas of my life in recent months and have seen much improvement in my stress and frustration levels. Of course, I still have a long way to go, so it was great to be reminded of these tips today!

  • Jason June 14, 2012, 7:40 am

    Great website and great article!

    I stay in the moment by trying to focus on the contact between my feet and the ground.

  • Betsy at Zen Mama June 14, 2012, 8:43 am

    Dani and Tess,
    Great posts and great reminders for staying in the present moment. And I love the fact that you have a choice! I’ve been exploring Buddhism and other eastern religions/philosophies for several years now. Your book looks wonderful!!! I’d love your book.

    Thanks to you both!

  • Hope June 14, 2012, 8:56 am

    How do I stay in the moment at a hectic moment? Well, it’s boring: I notice I’m clenching, because I’m always clenching something when I’m tense, and then I breathe.

  • Alan June 14, 2012, 7:54 pm

    I started my day out very positively however ran into the wall over a work related problem. Once I realized where I was at, and started saying goodbye with ” HAVE A GREAT DAY!” Each time I said it, I thought about something positive that had happened to me. I was able to reframe away from my ISSUE and focus on the what/how I could pass my positive vibes to someone else. It felt REALLY GOOD!

  • Equotes For Life June 15, 2012, 12:58 am

    Great post. Another good way to redirect the negative energy is to accept the situation and lowering your expectations.

  • Stuart - Limitless Believing June 15, 2012, 2:03 am

    Wonderful article Dani!

    Starting off on the right foot is incredibly important. If you take one step down a road you don’t want to go down, you then have to take two steps to get onto the road you do want to take. Already, the journey is one step longer than planned.

    Thanks for hosting Dani here Tess, very beautiful piece πŸ™‚

  • Edith June 15, 2012, 11:06 am

    Quite simply I just breathe – long, slow, deep breath and then let the breath gently out again.

  • Leah June 15, 2012, 11:13 am

    What a great article on taking charge of thoughts, emotions, and energy. I’m definitely going to use some of these exercises, particularly the one about falling asleep…right now I’m counting backwards from 1000, by threes. Arg!!
    Thanks for sharing!!

  • ashley June 15, 2012, 11:21 am

    I ground and center my self with inhales and exhales and surround myself in Divine love (:

  • William Veasley June 15, 2012, 12:25 pm

    Dani: I told myself the other day that I was going to start realing making an effort to start my day off as best as possible. One major thing I did was take the time to put on some nice clothes and not go out in comfortable at-home clothes. When I look nice it helps to feel nice. I figure if I keep myself up and look my best then that same positive energy will carry over to my work.

  • Sydney Wood June 15, 2012, 1:20 pm

    I focus on a positive outcome that I want for a given situation.

  • Suzann June 15, 2012, 4:41 pm

    A favorite of mine from thich nhat hanh. Breathing In, I Relax; Breathing out, I Smile. Repeat!

  • Annie June 15, 2012, 5:15 pm

    I’m gong to buck the trend here; I would say that you had a premonition that it was a bad time to go to Target. If you had listened to your intuition, you would have gone elsewhere then and found a better time to shop at Target, when it was less hectic.
    Maybe this shows that I really need the workbook on being present, instead of trying to dodge unpleasantness….

  • Katie June 15, 2012, 6:14 pm

    When I begin to feel bombarded by energy from ‘out there’ I remind myself that ‘I’ am my own energy and ‘my body’ is ‘my energy space’ which helps me feel grounded and solid again and reminds me that i am my own power afterall and don’t have to let into my energy space unchosen influences. Works for me! πŸ™‚
    That way you can be anywhere and stay centred.
    I love the sound of the book, and so happy to be in a time where there are so many healers/light workers sharing their gifts to uplift us all!! Thank you πŸ™‚

  • Halina Goldstein June 16, 2012, 1:37 am

    Thanks for sharing your present experience – I find it inspiring and courageous!

    The 5 senses approach is super powerful – that’s my experience too.

    Also in my experience, if you don’t mind me sharing it. πŸ™‚
    You cannot both control and embrace.
    You cannot redirect negative into positive and stay present at the same time.
    When you redirect, you essentially say to yourself: “I don’t want what is here and now”. Which is a valid way to approach life, by all means.But you cannot truly BE here and now while rejecting it.
    The good news is that if and when you decide to stay with what you believe is negative and embrace it unconditionally, it will eventually open up to you like a flower and reveal it’s true essence. There is nothing there but joy. (who would have thought… :-))

    Congratulations on your new book!!!

    Warmly –


  • Emma Moore June 17, 2012, 10:36 pm

    I ask God what does He want me to do for him. Then I always keep my spirit open for the right time and right situation I’m to be involved in. In order to do my very best for Him I have to be my best. If I have a wacked-out attitude that will not be able to be the blessing God wants me to be because someone who doesn’t know him can smell a fraud a mile away. In that I can’t be a fraud.

    Great article.

  • Kaylee June 29, 2012, 12:11 pm

    I so needed to read this – thank you!! Things are definitely crazy right now and I find myself not wanting to be present as my world gets flipped upside down. Can ya blame me? πŸ˜‰ But as I write about mindfulness too, it’s important that I stick with the present, even when it’s not the best scenario. These are some great tips to deal – #4 I especially love. I started off on the wrong foot for sure, but it’s never too late to stop, take a breath, and start again.

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